Boston United’s outside chances of making the National League North play-offs took a hammerblow as they were beaten 2-0 by league leaders Chorley.
In a game of two red cards and a penalty save, the Magpies moved four points clear of Stockport as they took their chances and the Pilgrims failed to really create any, ending the game without a shot on target to trouble Matt Urwin.
The first half ended in controversial fashion with Alex Newby and Ben Middleton both receiving straight reds for their part in a tussle following George Willis’s penalty save.
Middleton, already booked for dissent, made a thunderous clearing tackle but some afters with the Magpies man saw him pick up his second yellow. Newby handed a straight red for kicking out at the United defender.
Willis guessed right to push away Adam Blakeman’s spot kick after Middleton had upended Carver in the box, Chorley awarded a penalty at the second time of asking after a cross has slapped against the arm of Jonathan Wafula.
Prior to that all-action end, the first half had been relatively even in the blustery conditions, Carver’s 33rd-minute goal the difference.
Having latched onto Elliot Newby’s through ball he rounded Willis and, from the tightest of angles, squeezed his strike between the post and the backtracking Ryan Qualter.
Willis had to be alert to deny Courtney Meppen-Walter from close range and Alex Newby prodded wide under the close consideration of Pilgrims debutant George Smith.
Boston had troubled Chorley with pressure around the box, Andi Thanoj’s quick feet and probing runs from Jake Wright offering flashes, but their best chance saw Gavin Allott skip past his man before blazing well high of Urwin’s goal.
The second half struggled to get going with Chorley protecting their lead and Boston huffing and puffing but failing to break down a resolute defence.
Wright put a header off target for Boston before the hosts lost Allott and Thanoj to injury, replaced by Nickys Walker and Wroe.
Wafula smashed one over the Chorley goal before Smith’s challenge-cum-backpass forced Willis into action at the other end.
It had been a quiet half for the United keeper until Elliot Newby doubled the advantage in the 78th-minute, slotting home with a cool finish from a tight angle.
There was time for United to give a debut to striker Tom Clare, the 46th player to feature for Boston this season.
UNITED: Willis, Davies, Smith, Thanoj (Wroe 69), Middleton, Qualter, Rollins, Abbott, Allott (Walker 66), J. Wright (Clare 82), Wafula; Subs (not used): M. Wright, Harris.
CHORLEY: Urwin, Challoner, Blakeman, Teague, Leather, Meppen-Walter, A. Newby, Cottrell, Carver (Jordan 80), Wilson (Almond 84), E. Newby (McGurk 86); Subs (not used): Anson, Eccles.
REF: Aaron Bannister.
ATT: 1,007 (62).
STAR MAN: George Smith - Composed debut, offering some knowhow in defence.